I have two Solanum mammosum (nipplefruit) plants next to each other, and the one on the right is starting to wither since a week. The other one is not, what's going on here?

The plants are from seeds, and are in full ground since they were little. They are in the north-west corner of my garden (so facing south-east). They were both doing fine, until last week, the one on the right is having problems, the leafs are withering and browning and hanging. What can be the cause of this?

I live in Amsterdam, we had normal weather the past few weeks, however since last weekend the temperature is going tropical again (30 C or higher). But it started last week before the heat already.

NB. I have two more of these plants several meters to the right, which are doing fine. So it seems only one plant is having these issues.

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1 Answer 1


The problem is probably the amount of soil that the two plants have available for them to grow in. On the left side the roots can expand into what looks like a small flower bed and then even escape under the fence into what is on the other side. On the right side the plant is constrained by its brother on one side and paving stones on the other; it is true that the roots can go under the stones but this usually means a sandy material for the ease of bedding the slabs, so not much nourishment there.

It looks like this is an inside corner of the fence, where you could investigate what is on the other side of the fence on both the left side and top side. The failure of that one plant would seem to indicate more soil to the left but no soil towards the top of the first picture.

Paving slabs tend to absorb and hold heat much longer than soil. This will mean high water demand for the one that has most roots under the slabs.

  • That makes perfect sense, thank you. Behind the fence behind the plants is the garden of the neighbors which is mostly paved. Behind the fence to the left there is still some open soil for maybe 30 cm before the pavement begins there. So it makes sense that the plant on the right is stuck between bad paving slabs. Is it best to remove the bad plant?
    – benn
    Commented Aug 26, 2019 at 11:17
  • Yes, or if you can get enough root out prune and move it to a pot where you have more control over the amount of soil available. Commented Aug 26, 2019 at 11:23

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